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Citi Custom Cash Card vs USAA Cashback Rewards Plus American Express Card 2023

investor.com

Written by investor.com

In head-to-head competition, which of these rewards credit cards wins out? Here’s what each has to offer and how they fare when put to the ultimate test — the cash back you’ll earn for using them.

Citi Custom Cash Card
Earn 5% cash back on up to $500 of spending within your biggest eligible purchase category each billing cycle and unlimited 1% cash back thereafter. Earn $200 cash back after spending $750 on purchases in the first three months. 0% intro APR for 15 months on purchases and balance transfers.

USAA Cashback Rewards Plus American Express Card
Earn 5% cash back on your first $3,000 in combined gas station and military base purchases yearly, 2% cash back on your first $3,000 in grocery purchases yearly, and unlimited 1% cash back on all other qualifying purchases. Get a 0% APR for 15 months on balance transfers and convenience checks that post to your account within 90 days of account opening.

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dining Dining
theater_comedy Entertainment
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Citi Custom Cash Card

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Citi Custom Cash Card Logo
Cashback Per Year
$...
Annual Fee
$0
Welcome Bonus
$200

USAA Cashback Rewards Plus American Express Card

Read review
USAA Cashback Rewards Plus American Express Card Logo
Cashback Per Year
$...
Annual Fee
$0
Welcome Bonus
N/A
Want to compare more cards? Use our full calculator.

Which credit card earns more cash back overall?

Based on identical spending inputs, you’ll earn $215.52 cash back per year with Citi Custom Cash Card and $211.08 with USAA Cashback Rewards Plus American Express Card. For context, the average annual rewards payout from the cashback credit cards in the investor.com database is $181.73.

The annual rewards payout assumes you charge $1,000 each month spread across the following spending categories: Dining ($145), Entertainment ($134), Gas ($140), Groceries ($198), Travel ($128), Pharmacy ($15), and Other ($240). The dollar amounts for each category are based on consumer spending data collected by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (i.e., how much the average American spends proportionally across the major credit card rewards categories). But you can — and absolutely should! — customize the inputs based on your actual monthly spending habits, using our rewards calculator.

To ensure the most accurate results possible, the rewards calculations for Citi Custom Cash Card and USAA Cashback Rewards Plus American Express Card incorporate bonus rewards rates, spending caps, default rewards rates and annual fees, where applicable.

Is the Citi Custom Cash Card good?

A card that rewards spending category fluidity with 5% cashback on autopilot? 🖐 Shame about that $500 spending cap on the bonus rate, though.

thumb_up Likes

  • 5% cash back on your biggest monthly spending category
  • $200 sign-up bonus
  • Hassle-free rewards
  • No annual fee
  • 0% APR on purchases and balance transfers for 15 months

thumb_down Dislikes

  • $500 monthly spending limit on 5% cash back
  • Measly 1% cash back on everything else
  • 3% foreign transaction fee
  • 5% balance transfer fee


Category Default Rate Bonus Rate Bonus Spend Cap Bonus Spend Period (Months)
Gas 1.00% - - -
Travel 1.00% - - -
Dining 1.00% - - -
Entertainment 1.00% - - -
Pharmacy 1.00% - - -
Groceries 1.00% 5.00% $500 1
Other Purchases 1.00% - - -

Is the USAA Cashback Rewards Plus American Express Card good?

A 5% rewards rate is cashback Valhalla. But getting it with this card requires the moon and sun and your life and spending choices to be precisely aligned.

thumb_up Likes

  • 5% cash back on gas and military base purchases (up to a point)
  • 2% cash back on groceries (also up to a point)
  • 0% intro APR for 15 months on balance transfers/convenience checks
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • Handy protection benefits for travel and purchases
  • No annual fee

thumb_down Dislikes

  • The 5% and 2% rewards rates shrink to 1% after you spend $3K in each category
  • The 1% cash back on everything else is 🙄
  • No sign-up bonus
  • No 0% intro APR on purchases
  • USAA membership required


Category Default Rate Bonus Rate Bonus Spend Cap Bonus Spend Period (Months)
Gas 1.00% 5.00% $3,000 12
Travel 1.00% - - -
Dining 1.00% - - -
Entertainment 1.00% - - -
Pharmacy 1.00% - - -
Groceries 1.00% 2.00% $3,000 12
Other Purchases 1.00% - - -

sports_kabaddi Compare credit cards

Select and compare two credit cards head to head to see which offers the most bang for your buck.


Select Credit Cards

×
  • check_box_outline_blankcheck_boxAlliant Cashback Visa Signature Credit Card
  • check_box_outline_blankcheck_boxAmerican Express Cash Magnet
  • check_box_outline_blankcheck_boxApple Card
  • check_box_outline_blankcheck_boxBank of America Customized Cash Rewards
  • check_box_outline_blankcheck_boxBank of America Unlimited Cash Rewards
  • check_box_outline_blankcheck_boxBank of America Unlimited Cash Rewards (Gold Tier)
  • check_box_outline_blankcheck_boxBank of America Unlimited Cash Rewards (Platinum Honors Tier)
  • check_box_outline_blankcheck_boxBank of America Unlimited Cash Rewards (Platinum Tier)
  • check_box_outline_blankcheck_boxBlue Cash Everyday from American Express
  • check_box_outline_blankcheck_boxBlue Cash Preferred Card from American Express
  • check_box_outline_blankcheck_boxBMO Harris Bank Cash Back Mastercard
  • check_box_outline_blankcheck_boxCapital One Quicksilver Rewards
  • check_box_outline_blankcheck_boxCapital One Quicksilver Rewards for Good Credit
  • check_box_outline_blankcheck_boxCapital One QuicksilverOne
  • check_box_outline_blankcheck_boxCapital One Savor Rewards
  • check_box_outline_blankcheck_boxCapital One SavorOne Rewards
  • check_box_outline_blankcheck_boxChase Freedom Flex
  • check_box_outline_blankcheck_boxChase Freedom Unlimited
  • check_box_outline_blankcheck_boxCiti Custom Cash Card
  • check_box_outline_blankcheck_boxCiti Double Cash Card
  • check_box_outline_blankcheck_boxCostco Anywhere Visa Card by Citi
  • check_box_outline_blankcheck_boxCredit One Bank American Express Card
  • check_box_outline_blankcheck_boxCredit One Platinum Rewards Visa
  • check_box_outline_blankcheck_boxCredit One Platinum Rewards Visa with No Annual Fee
  • check_box_outline_blankcheck_boxCredit One Platinum X5 Visa
  • check_box_outline_blankcheck_boxDiscover it Cash Back
  • check_box_outline_blankcheck_boxDiscover it Chrome
  • check_box_outline_blankcheck_boxPayPal Cashback Mastercard
  • check_box_outline_blankcheck_boxPenFed Power Cash Rewards
  • check_box_outline_blankcheck_boxPetal 2 Visa Card
  • check_box_outline_blankcheck_boxPNC Cash Rewards Visa Credit Card
  • check_box_outline_blankcheck_boxSallie Mae Accelerate
  • check_box_outline_blankcheck_boxSallie Mae Evolve Credit Card
  • check_box_outline_blankcheck_boxSoFi Credit Card
  • check_box_outline_blankcheck_boxTD Cash Credit Card
  • check_box_outline_blankcheck_boxTruist Enjoy Cash Credit Card
  • check_box_outline_blankcheck_boxU.S. Bank Cash+ Visa Signature Card
  • check_box_outline_blankcheck_boxUpgrade Cash Rewards
  • check_box_outline_blankcheck_boxUpgrade Triple Cash Rewards
  • check_box_outline_blankcheck_boxUSAA Cashback Rewards Plus American Express Card
  • check_box_outline_blankcheck_boxUSAA Preferred Cash Rewards Visa Signature Card
  • check_box_outline_blankcheck_boxVenmo Credit Card
  • check_box_outline_blankcheck_boxWells Fargo Active Cash Card

Compare

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Methodology

The results of the investor.com Credit Card Rewards Calculator are based on the monthly spending amounts you enter and the annual dollar value of the rewards each credit card program pays per $1 spent. Credit card companies often express this payout amount as a percentage (e.g., 1.5% of every dollar spent) or on a points basis (e.g. ,1.5 points for every dollar spent). We converted all of them to a dollar amount (“Cash Back Per Year”) to make comparing offers easier.

To calculate the amount of cash back you could earn per year, we factored in:

  • Spend category inputs: The default dollar values for each “Spend Category” in the Best Cashback Credit Cards tool — gas, groceries, travel, restaurant, entertainment, pharmacy, other — are based on average American spending data from the Consumer Expenditure Surveys from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. We also include additional spend categories (such as streaming services, online shopping, utilities, transit, Amazon and more) to help you see which rewards cards are most closely aligned with your actual spending patterns. We encourage you to customize the monthly spend inputs for the most accurate results.
  • Tiered rewards rates: If a rewards credit card pays higher cashback rates on certain spending categories (also called “Bonus Rewards”), that difference is reflected in the total “Cash Back Per Year” tally.
  • Rewards spending caps: Some cards impose category- or time-based limits (monthly, quarterly, annually) that affect the amount of rewards you can earn. For example, a card may pay 3% cash back on groceries on up to $1,000 of spending each quarter, then revert to the base/default rewards rate until the following quarter. We accounted for bonus spending caps and timeframe in the calculations.
  • Default rewards rates: Purchases that exceed a spending cap are usually subject to a lower default rewards rate (e.g., 1% or 1.5%). We mathed that out too.
  • Annual fees: If a rewards card charges an annual fee, we deducted that amount from the “Cash Back Per Year” total to provide a true accounting of a card’s annual rewards payout.

What’s not included in the “Cash Back Per Year” total is the cash value of any sign-up/introductory bonus. We highlight any Welcome Bonus separately. While sign-up bonuses can be the most lucrative part of getting a new cashback rewards credit card, not everyone will want or be able to do what it takes to earn the extra cash. (It usually requires spending a certain amount in a specified time period after the card is activated.)



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